Opinions on XMA

BrandonLucas

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Hey everyone,

I just wanted to get some responses and see what the general concensus is in regards to XMA. I really don't have any real reason for asking...just curious, really, and I'm sure it's been asked before, but I havent' seen a thread on it lately.

I was watching ESPN a while back, and they were showing some of the competitions in which there were blackbelts performing katas with flips and handstands and stuff. I doubt very seriously that this is any kind of traditional art, so I guess my questions are going to have a couple of layers here:

1) Are the people who practice XMA actually martial artists that have a background in some form of TMA, or are they gymnasts who figured out how to kick and punch like they do in the movies?

2) If the poeple who practice XMA are not based in TMA's, is XMA still considered a martial art?
A) If this is answered yes, then how is it considered martial?
B) What name would be applied to the art? Would it be a traditional
style name like karate, or would it be still blanketed under the term
XMA?

3) If XMA is going to be considered a martail art, then why don't the XMA stylists enter any of the sparring competitions?

4) Even though most tournements seperate the XMA stylists from the traditional stylists in Kata competition, how is it legit that XMA stylists are allowed to compete in the same forum as the traditionalists? Even if the competitions are judged on different criteria, the addition of XMA into the tournement is going to overshadow the traditional competition, so how is this fair to the traditionalists?

No offense intended to anyone on here who practices XMA...in fact, it would be great to hear from someone who has done XMA in the past or is practicing it currently.
 

celtic_crippler

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My 0.02....

XMA is a modern performance martial art....

Wushu is also performance based, but it is still a martial art. I hold martial arts have 3 basic aspects: self-defense, sport, and performance. The last aspect being the most broad because it is the most subject to interpretation.

All MA contain these three aspects, but the focus on which aspect varies per style. XMA simply focuses on the performance side the most.

Give them credit. It takes a lot of skill and athleticism to do what they do and it's a great marketing strategy to bring youth into your dojo.

Would the flips and handstands be practical for self-defense? ....probably not, but it is what it is and I respect it and appreciate the attention it brings to the world of martial arts.
 

bluekey88

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Hey everyone,

I just wanted to get some responses and see what the general concensus is in regards to XMA. I really don't have any real reason for asking...just curious, really, and I'm sure it's been asked before, but I havent' seen a thread on it lately.

I was watching ESPN a while back, and they were showing some of the competitions in which there were blackbelts performing katas with flips and handstands and stuff. I doubt very seriously that this is any kind of traditional art, so I guess my questions are going to have a couple of layers here:

1) Are the people who practice XMA actually martial artists that have a background in some form of TMA, or are they gymnasts who figured out how to kick and punch like they do in the movies?

2) If the poeple who practice XMA are not based in TMA's, is XMA still considered a martial art?
A) If this is answered yes, then how is it considered martial?
B) What name would be applied to the art? Would it be a traditional
style name like karate, or would it be still blanketed under the term
XMA?

3) If XMA is going to be considered a martail art, then why don't the XMA stylists enter any of the sparring competitions?

4) Even though most tournements seperate the XMA stylists from the traditional stylists in Kata competition, how is it legit that XMA stylists are allowed to compete in the same forum as the traditionalists? Even if the competitions are judged on different criteria, the addition of XMA into the tournement is going to overshadow the traditional competition, so how is this fair to the traditionalists?

No offense intended to anyone on here who practices XMA...in fact, it would be great to hear from someone who has done XMA in the past or is practicing it currently.

\1) Both.

2) XMA is an outgrowth pf martial theater (such as Peking Opera)...it depicts martial-like activities but is in itself not a martial art in my opinion. It is challenging...lord knows I don't have the skill and athleticism to do half of what those guys do...but it sure ain't fighting.

3) They don't spar...it's all about choreography...it's not a martial art in that sense...it is martial theater.

4) Life ain't fair. If having an xma division is going ot put butts in the seats, then that'll be the big thing. traditional martial arts isn't about spectacle and entertainment...it's about fighting. Real fighting is ugly, spectacle is beautiful...msot folks can't see the beauty in the ugly and we don't see the practical in the beautiful.

I personally don't have a probalem with XMA. It doesn't change how I practice or what I do. I admire the obevious skill of XMA guys. Some of them are legit martial artists with serious fighting skills, some are gymnasts. If a school has an XMA program then it is meeting a market demand and keeping its doors open..that's not necessarily a bad thing. I really don't care what the general populace thinks about MA or how things like XMA will impact on their perceptions...inmy experience, the general populace has NEVER undestood what MA is about and probably never will. It doesn;t change how I train or what I get from my training so I really can't sweat it.

Peace,
Erik
Peace,
Erik
 

Cirdan

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If XMA is a martial art then my four year old cousins playing cowboy and indians are doing MA too :p
 

dancingalone

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The only issue I have with XMA is the winning champions I see on ESPN never display any real understanding of what a good, powerful punch is. They're just flailing their arms in the arm for maximum speed. As stated above, these guys and gals are obviously athletic and could be very good at traditional martial arts slanted towards another goal like self-defense.

Meh. I'm not a fan. I'd suggest playing wide receiver in American football or shooting guard in basketball instead. At least you have the potential to make some money, if you're really good at it.
 

zDom

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I don't like XMA.

To me it seems to be nothing more than half-assed gymnastics in an unholy marriage with sloppy martial art techniques.

I think they would be better off dedicating their time to REAL gymnastics or REAL martial arts.

But hey, that's just my opinion (as requested in the thread title ;)).

If they like it, they should stick with it I guess (shrug).
 

YoungMan

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The more I see it the less I like it. Has about as much to do with real martial arts as a Jackie Chan film.
 

Andrew Green

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1) Are the people who practice XMA actually martial artists that have a background in some form of TMA, or are they gymnasts who figured out how to kick and punch like they do in the movies?

A little of both I imagine, but I suspect a good portion start in XMA without a background in either.

2) If the poeple who practice XMA are not based in TMA's, is XMA still considered a martial art?

Yes, why not?

Not all martial arts are combative, even the traditional ones.

A) If this is answered yes, then how is it considered martial?

Common usage of the word?

B) What name would be applied to the art? Would it be a traditional
style name like karate, or would it be still blanketed under the term
XMA?

Does it really make a difference? before "XMA" was termed "Sport Karate" seemed to be the most common.

3) If XMA is going to be considered a martail art, then why don't the XMA stylists enter any of the sparring competitions?

Or Wushu, or Tai Chi, kenjitsu, or countless other styles that don't spar for that matter?

4) Even though most tournements seperate the XMA stylists from the traditional stylists in Kata competition, how is it legit that XMA stylists are allowed to compete in the same forum as the traditionalists? Even if the competitions are judged on different criteria, the addition of XMA into the tournement is going to overshadow the traditional competition, so how is this fair to the traditionalists?

You're right, XMA forms definitely put traditional ones to shame when it comes to performance value. I'm not really sure why people insist on competing using traditional forms, which most people seem to agree are for training not show.

XMA forms are done for show, having a judged competion of them seems to make far more sense then a judged traditional form, which are supposedly meant not for show, but for passing on techniques.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I haven't seen enough XMA to have an opinion beyond that the practitioners are very athletic and seem to be doing what I call martial gymnastics.

I generally take with a grain of salt anything that has an 'X' acronym; its a marketing ploy to catch those who are into 'X'treme sports or who just get into anything 'X'treme. Most of the time, such 'X' themed things don't last, such as the XFL. Sometimes they do last, such as the X-Games or the XBox, but I tend to see most things so themed as fads.

Daniel
 

KickFest

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I find it ironic that XMA is termed a martial art, but TKD is generally labelled a sport :mst:

I don't have any first-hand experience of XMA but I don't think it's a bad thing. They clearly put the effort in to achieve those results and aren't selling it as the Ultimate Combat System(tm). I just don't want to see backflips-to-splits moves start appearing on TMA gradings :) This may very well be a great way to get kids into martial arts without having to churn out kiddy black belts.

<geek mode> Oh, and CT the XBox doesn't count because the X is a shortening of DirectX, not Xtreme :wink1: </geek mode>
 

celtic_crippler

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...well...apparently they consider themselves martial artists.


Xtreme Martial Arts or XMA, is a mixed sport of acrobatics, gymnastics and martial arts. XMA also sets an X-games kind of pace to weapons drills as well. It is a combination of techniques, methods of movements and philosophies from all martial arts styles. It is a mixture of virtually all martial arts styles blended together with high-flying acrobatics and gymnastics.


I don't do it, teach it, or understand it completely....but I do think it is simply another facet of martial arts. If you'd like to hear more of their actual opinion then you can read more here -> http://www.xmarevolution.com/

...holy crap! I was looking at some profiles and one team member credits Jamie Seabrook as one of her trainers! Jamie is an excellent kenpoist and quite knowledgeable. If she's had training from him then she is definately a martial artist IMHO.

Look through their profiles....you may recognize a name or two yourself.
 

clfsean

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Why do they all look so angry and/or in pain?? Oh right... they're fierce.

Craptacular...

Great athletic ability... good thing they're all mostly still cartiledge.
 

zDom

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The more I see it the less I like it. Has about as much to do with real martial arts as a Jackie Chan film.

Whoa whoa whoa: HOLD the PHONE! You disrespectin' my man, Jackie Chan??

:angry:

Three words for you, Youngman, when it comes to Jackie Chan:

Best. Martialartmoviestar. Ever.

/nuffsaid
/endthreadhighjack
 

tko4u

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I don't like XMA.

To me it seems to be nothing more than half-assed gymnastics in an unholy marriage with sloppy martial art techniques.

I think they would be better off dedicating their time to REAL gymnastics or REAL martial arts.

But hey, that's just my opinion (as requested in the thread title ;)).

If they like it, they should stick with it I guess (shrug).


im with zdom here, couldnt have said it better
 

Flying Crane

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I'm not really sure why people insist on competing using traditional forms, which most people seem to agree are for training not show.

XMA forms are done for show, having a judged competion of them seems to make far more sense then a judged traditional form, which are supposedly meant not for show, but for passing on techniques.

It's true that traditional forms are meant for passing on technique, and in a traditional tournament, that is what the forms should be judged on, rather than how well it pleases the crowd. The problem is, this assumes that the judges themselves are knowledgeable and skilled with the very same forms that are being used in the competition. The judges ought to have the skills and knowledge to recognize if the form is done well and properly, or not. This is often not the case, however. Many times, the panel of judges have no real knowledge of your particular art and forms, so they look for general things like strong stances and power and such. But in reality, if you screw up the form, they wouldn't know.

So yes, often the reality is that forms are done as performance art, even in the traditional tournaments. But that's not what it's supposed to be. Even if the form is ugly and boring, you SHOULD win if you execute it perfectly. But that is seldom the case.
 

exile

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Even if the form is ugly and boring, you SHOULD win if you execute it perfectly. But that is seldom the case.

I want to second FC's statements here with a perfect example. My instructor has won many state and regional forms championships; watching him do forms is like watching Nureyev in his prime dance Swan Lakethe ultra of ultras in the graceful, flowing projection of devastating power (well, maybe not devasting in Nureyev's case, but you know what I mean...) He tells me that a lot of his victories were with Palgwe Chil Jang. This is a lovely hyung, with elegant sequences of side kicks, double knife hand blocks and reverse puncheswonderful choreography and some great lethal apps concealed within. He also tells me that when he was competing, he sometimes did the last of the Palgwes, Pal Jangand never once won. Compared with Chil Jang, Pal Jang is just brute force. It's an encyclop疆dia of elbow strikes, really, showing just how important elbows were as components of hard-combat TKD even in the post-Kwan era when 'international TKD' was already in the air. It's choppy, hard, abrupt and somewhat idiosyncratic. But I've seen him do it; if anyone can make Palgwe Pal Jang look fluent, it's Allen Shirley. Nonetheless, he never won with it, everand this at a time in his life when he would win or place second in every tournament he entered, no matter how many competitors there were. I've asked him why not, and his constant reply is, 'The judges just don't like it'. Exactly as FC says...
 
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BrandonLucas

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In my opinion, I could really do without XMA. I realize that they are a performance art, and I can respect that, but it has no place in a traditional tournement. It is also my opinion that things like XMA are what ruins the traditional tournement experience.

When I go to a traditional open tournement, I expect to see examples of many different SD martial arts. Even in forms competition, the forms should be graded on the principal of SD application, even if the judges aren't familier with the particular art.

You can't take a TKD blackbelt and have them perform Choong-Moo right after somebody from XMA has just gotten off the floor from flipping around like Yoda on Redbull. It doesn't matter how deep the TKD'ists stances are, or how perfect the kicks and punches are, the flipping is going to be more appealing to a judge, and the XMA competitor will win.

Now, this does bring up the point of going into a tournement with a freestyle form, but even then, we don't train to do handstand-splits, so no matter what type of form I put together, unless I'm flying through the air, I'm not going to place.

If the tournement is supposed to be a traditional style tournement, then why are the XMA guys allowed to compete? In other words, I certainly wouldn't try to go to the Olympics and compete in the gymnastics floor competition with Hwa-Rang...that form would have no place there, and I feel that this relates to the other side of that coin.

And besides, I know there are other arts out there that resemble performance arts...the difference is that I actually have sparred a Tai Chi practitioner before in a tournement. Sure, their forms look cool, but the thing is that they understand the SD aspect of their forms. These XMA guys show no concept of SD at all...and most of the time, they're just throwing arms and legs out like they know what they're doing, but all they're really doing is basic gymnastics.

It's not that I don't appreciate what these guys do...I certainly couldn't do what they do...but XMA has its place, and, in my honest opinion, it shouldn't be with TMA's.

And in regards to the description of XMA, I fail to see how it's even close to having all the martial arts rolled into one, as the description implies. I don't see anything that could resemble a single martial art, let alone multiple arts....the only thing they can use to consider as being a part of a martial art is the fact that they stick their hands and feet in the air and call it punching and kicking.

And KickFest hit the nail on the head for me: How is it that XMA gets to be called a martial art, but TKD is considered a sport?

Now, I'm not trying to rip on XMA, I'm really not. But like I said before, it has its place. And much respect to those guys who actually can do the flipping and acrobatics. It does take a lot of hard work and dedication, but that doesn't make it a martial art.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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And KickFest hit the nail on the head for me: How is it that XMA gets to be called a martial art, but TKD is considered a sport?
Because I'd gather that the XMA guys all have some sort of traditional martial arts background and simply consider what they do to be an extension of that, while the WTF and many who practice sport taekwondo are very adamant that it (sport tkd) isn't a martial art.

Since most of the big commercial schools and the Olympics are what people see of taekwondo, and since WTF sparring definitely looks a lot more like a sport than martial arts, taekwondo is called a sport. Lets not forget that the WTF has worked very hard to cultivate it as a sport. And in the mind of the uneducated, the WTF is taekwondo. The WTF says that it is a sport. It looks like a sport. The competitors behave like its a sport. So people simply assume that its a sport.

Daniel
 
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